Social Media Quacks Like a Duck

Posted: September 11, 2010 in HIS Communications

I’ve been studiously learning as much as possible about social media and the technology that supports the concept. It’s taking this ole’ dog some time to grasp how to use the technology, but it didn’t take too long to understand and implement the branding concept into my business plan. Understanding social media’s concept was easy, because not too many years ago we called it “public relations.” So to me… in my opinion…I think social media began as repackaged PR and has grown from there using the great explosion of technological platforms to build a business.

Please understand, I love the concept of social media and the process of branding a person, business or concept. It is exciting to look at the gurus in this environment, the businesses using it to establish record growth and committed fans, and the rush to participate. I have a strong sense of anticipation about the opportunities that lie ahead for the individual or company that “gets it.” The successful ones will deal from a position of honesty and integrity and what could be better than that?

So is it social media marketing or is it, as I believe, simply repackaged public relations? It all goes back to “if it quacks like a duck…it must be a duck.” Corporate and personal branding has been with us for years. Its foundation was branding a product based on “creativity and repetition.” Companies repeated the visual logo and slogan until everyone recognized them immediately. Still do for that matter. Remember these slogans?

Unless you are really young, you probably recognized these illustrations. The Energizer Bunny, by the way, is one of America’s most recognizable animations, but they are number two in battery sales. Do you know who is number one?

The problem with branding is that it typically favored the big company. If you didn’t have the money to run a stream of ads on multiple media, you were left doing the best you could on a local/regional level. Then… along came cable television and the internet. By then, small business had learned that their number one requirement for expansion was to build trust. And the vehicle for building trust was to produce public relations pieces that touted the brand. “Top of the Mind” marketing became the mantra, and some companies showed astronomical growth. Companies using PR for their growth were:

So what did that mean? It meant that small companies using PR could grow to become big companies without the huge capital outlay of creative ideas and advertising dollars. These companies made a great contribution to small business… and this leveled the playing field!

I love getting video from Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary grew a liquor store from a $4 million-a-year business to a $60 million-a-year mega wine marketer. I personally think the guy is a genius in promoting himself, but the internet and video give him the opportunity to reach people he could have never reached prior to today’s technological platform. He kicked big competitors to the curb using technology to spread a public relations message.

Maybe you don’t agree with me regarding this “duck” thing. That’s okay. But if you’re a little guy wanting to become financially successful in today’s consumer market, go ahead and talk social media, but remember it’s the public relations aspect of social media that builds your base. Find your special community and build your reputation there. Have the patience to build your twitter followings, facebook friends, and business relationships the right way. I wish you the best. And always be open to the sound of a “Quack!”


  1. John Madeira says:

    You are right. I immediately connected too with the images. ‘Please don’t squeeze the Charmin’s”!! Thanks for the perspective. It is fun learning the new groove of social media and exciting to think of all the possibilities!

  2. More like a Duck on steroids. PR of your day never got the timely results Social Media gets. If Proctor & Gamble had a PR program in play it would take weeks or months to compile the data on the wax tablets then disseminate it via carrier Pigeon. Today Social Media gives a near real time results so that real time changes can be made. Making it a level playing field for all business. So its more like Mighty Duck (is that copy-write infringement?).

    Quaking with authority

  3. Fred Bittner says:

    I am interested in more about branding myself. I have a blog, and a book, and a facebook fan page. I think that I am doing all I can in those arenas, but am curious if you have more advice on branding.

    I placed all of my website info on the fan page hoping you may take the time to look at it.

    • Mike Sparrow says:

      Don’t have too much to go on regarding your question. Took some time to look over your blog and watch the video about the lead as it applies to God. Thought it was goood. You have a good start on your fan page as well. I didn’t see any programs designed to pull people to a landing page and reward them for showing an interest and giving you their email address. Any plans for a web site? How are sales of your book so far, and how will you increase your circle of influence beyond facebook and book signings? There’s a whole world of things you can do to increase exposure, my first recommendation would be start a twitter account and begin a website. Then look to facebook and google ads to begin building your list. Hope this helps some. Think you should have an audience for your book. Blessings.

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